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Institute for Research in Biomedicine
Istituto di Ricerca in Biomedicina

Via Vincenzo Vela 6 - CH-6500 Bellinzona
Tel. +41 91 820 0300 - Fax +41 91 820 0302 - info [at] irb [dot] usi [dot] ch

Regulation of secretory IgA by the gut microbiota

Research area: Mucosal Immunology

Group leaders: Fabio Grassi


Status: In progress

T cell dependent secretory IgA (SIgA) generated in the Peyer’s patches (PPs) of the small intestine shapes a broadly diverse microbiota that is crucial for host physiology. The mutualistic co-evolution of host and microbes led to the relative tolerance of host’s immune system towards commensal microorganisms. The adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-gated ionotropic P2X7 receptor limits T follicular helper (Tfh) cells expansion and germinal center (GC) reaction in the PPs. We have shown that transient depletion of intestinal ATP can dramatically improve high-affinity IgA response against both live and inactivated oral vaccines. Ectopic expression of Shigella flexneri periplasmic ATP-diphosphohydrolase (apyrase) abolishes ATP release by bacteria and improves the specific IgA response against live oral vaccines. Antibody responses primed in the absence of intestinal extracellular ATP (eATP) also provide superior protection from enteropathogenic infection. We are applying this knowledge to the generation of a new class of mucosal vaccines with enhanced efficacy.